Attributions, Affect, and Crime: Street Youth's Reaction to Unemployment

This research examines the role familial, school, labor market, and street factors play in the criminality of 200-homeless male street youths. Of particular interest is the way these youths interpret their labor market experiences and how together these experiences and interpretations influence criminal behavior. Findings reveal that familial and school factors have minimal influence on current criminal behavior. Instead, criminal behavior is influenced by such immediate factors as homelessness, drug and alcohol use, and criminal peers who engage in illegal activities. Further, criminal behavior is influenced by a lack of income, job experiences, and perceptions of a blocked opportunity structure. While labor market conditions and reactions to those conditions have some effect on crime, the findings also suggest that lengthy unemployment, job experiences, and a lack of income work in tandem with anger and external attributions to increase street youths' criminal activities.

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